Unpacking some stuff


Hi all…long time no blog!

I’m not sure where the last six months went, but they sure did go by in a blur, with nary a post from this little sparrow. My apologies to all for leaving you hanging. It seems that I have not only been tremendously busy, but have also struggled with some wicked writers block.

Sometimes it’s not just about feeling blocked up…I’ve been struggling with some emotions I just wasn’t quite sure what to do with, how to categorize, or how to think about them. When it came time to days when I did feel like writing, it wasn’t always the most positive things to talk about and I needed some time to try to figure out what was really going on in my head.

What’s gone on here at Sparrow’s nest during all of that time? A lot, and yet nothing. It’s been a quiet summer. I did just a little fishing, a little riding on the motorcycle with my Flirt, and spent some excellent quality time with my kids and my friends. I spent a whole lot of time trying to help Older Son get a real job, which was finally accomplished. I worked more than I should have at my two jobs, but it was a good Summer. The Fall season is proving a bit more hectic, and challenging though, which is a whole other post-full of stuff to talk about.

Something that’s come out of the woodwork lately is friends who are experiencing divorce. It started with one, and then another, and then another. The unraveling of someone’s life, especially a dear friend, is heartbreaking.  Having your life rearranged by divorce is such a traumatic injury to recover from, and it’s very hard to describe to someone how to go about trying to put it back together. In an overly simplistic analogy, it’s like unraveling a blanket you have been crocheting or knitting. When you’ve been working away a project like that for a long time, and then discover that there’s a defect, you have to unravel it and start again. Sometimes others unravel it for you. Either way, whoever is responsible for the unraveling,  your hard work has been pulled out, has become misshapen 006and now you have to begin again. There you sit with kinked up, unraveled yarn in piles around you, the warmth and comfort of a blanket you’ve been working on so diligently is now gone, and it takes effort to figure out where the next stitch goes…starting up again is slow going, but with careful consideration and thoughtfulness, it can be done. The end product won’t be the same as what you anticipated, but will be every bit as functional and lovely…maybe more so. Well, anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

You see, I think feeling like I’m becoming unraveled has been a large part of my problem these last few months. One of the big reasons I had such a hard time writing was that I am now having to unpack things from being divorced I didn’t want to deal with before. Four years later, I have people asking me for advice on how to survive the process, and I feel quite a bit like a fraud. As it happens, I am still on that road, and haven’t reached anything close to the end.

I discovered just last night that I am not done on this journey of recovery. What made me realize this was Parents Night at Younger Son’s last home football game. Ever. He’s a Senior this year, and the parents of Seniors get recognized for all of the time, effort, money and hardship that goes into supporting a child in the local football program (which my Ex really hasn’t had to experience. Ouch…did I just say that out loud?). As such, I was required to stand with my Ex on the field, and step forward when our names were called on Younger’s behalf.  Until that moment, I didn’t realize how much I haven’t progressed or evolved. I have a very difficult time speaking to my Ex, and don’t care much for looking him in the eye, even though I haven’t done him wrong at all. He will try to engage me in trite small talk for the sake of appearances, but I have a difficult time responding with more than a word or two. During the time I endured spending on the field with him,  I realized that I still carry around a giant open wound that hasn’t healed. I’m not sure how to reduce said injury, but I think that acknowledging it gets me going in the right direction. More on that later.

Something else that has plagued me a bit is the discovery that I have been experiencing early menopause. That’s right…this old lady has hit that time of life at the ripe old age of almost 45. The rough part about that is how I am feeling quite maudlin and weepy all the time. Hormone imbalance, coupled with anticipatory empty nest syndrome, is quite a ride, but I keep telling myself to not borrow trouble that hasn’t manifested. My worry-wort self has been pretty active, and it’s time to shut that down and just live for today the best I can.

light-beamOne of the best things I can do for myself is to get back on the blogging bandwagon. I do so much better when I write, as I make myself find something positive to write about. Time to get my Pollyanna on, and get back in the groove. I’m ready to get out of the rut I’ve been in, and exude some positivity and sunshine.

Here’s hoping that you can see to get out of the ruts you fall into, and that you can find the sunshine behind the clouds. Keep looking up…the clouds move out of the way sooner or later.

Blessings all!

Flogging depression with gardening


Apparently, I’ve been depressed.

It sounds as though I make it out to be like it sneaked up on me, and caught me unawares. Well, that’s sometimes how it happens…at least for me. I realized recently, that I’d been falling into old patterns and having no feelings other than unhappy. Today I heard stories about two people I work with at The Big Box Store, who have decided to move away because they lost their homes, and most everything in the flood. There’s nothing holding them here, so they are moving to where they have family, and starting over. It really made me think about all the things that I have taken for granted, and how  fortunate I have been.

Do I have more bills than I can keep up with? Oh, yeah. Do I run like a chicken with my head cut off most days? Yep. Do I feel overwhelmed all the time? Most definitely. Has my ex-husband served me with a legal motion because he thinks he’s paying me too much, and wants a refund? Yes he did, that rotten so-and-so.  Has the heart of my city been destroyed, and so many people I know been displaced and won’t be able to get back into their homes before the snow flies? Yes, and it makes my heart ache.  Have I got more things around the house that need doing than I have time and energy for? Oh, man, do I. Did my engine light come on? Unfortunately, it did. Ugh.

I’ve been feeling really down because of all of this stuff on my plate, and didn’t realize how down I was until I realized I have been having a continual internal pity party for quite a while. Hearing about these two families who have had to make such a hard decision really jerked me out of my rut, and I was able to actually get up and do something. Feeling depressed is very much like wearing weights around your neck…it’s just so hard to get up and do anything. I wish I had realized I had sunk down so far before things got so out of whack.

The thing is, I have got so much to be grateful for, and that really should outweigh the bad stuff. Do I have a home to come home to at the end of a long day, that is dry and safe? Are my kids healthy? Am I gainfully employed? Do I have parents that have stuck by me and helped me every step of the way my whole life? Do I have good friends?  Did my garden produce food for me, even though I neglected it all summer? A resounding yes to all of these things and much more. I am so blessed, and it’s a huge bummer that I lost sight of that.

Before - ugh!

So, after I got home from working at The Big Box Store this morning, I took Older Son shopping. We came home, and then Younger Son and I spent three hours outside. He changed light bulbs over both doors and washed the van, and I spent my time cleaning up and organizing the rock beds that surround two sides of our house. The front one was especially bad, but it turns out that it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Since I had extra time, and was on a roll, I weeded out my strawberry/herb garden and found some interesting things.

Rosemary on the right, Thyme on the left

I planted rosemary, thyme and oregano this spring, which grew fabulously. Now I have a nice bunch of fresh herbs to cook with. Actually, I like to just rub them in my hands and sniff them. There’s nothing that drops my blood pressure quick than smelling fresh thyme. Who needs drugs when you have a good kitchen herb garden!

After that was done, I took a look at my VERY over grown vegetable garden. We planted snow peas, corn, carrots and pumpkins. The only thing that did really well was the pumpkins. The vines and flowers are so pretty! Younger Son has been telling me for a couple of weeks about some really strange-looking pumpkins, and he thought the vines might be infected with something and the pumpkins were deformed. I finally made the effort to take a look tonight, and it turns out that not only do we have genuine baby pumpkins, but also spaghetti squash! I had a spaghetti squash that I ended up throwing in the compost heap this Spring, as it went bad before I could eat it. Apparently, they are very easy to grow!

We also have ground cherries and dill that re-seeded themselves from last year. The strawberries looked a little worse for the wear, but were holding their own and had sent out runners. We even had some carrots that survived all the rain we received. Even though Younger isn’t a veggie eater, I talked him into trying a carrot straight out of the garden, since he was the one that planted them. I was surprised that he actually ate it, but he did. I ate some too, and it was a little woody as it should have been picked earlier, but it was good anyway.

So, by 7:30 this evening, the rock beds had been cleared of all weeds, one garden had been weeded and watered, and the van had been scrubbed for the first time all summer (There wasn’t

Whoa! Now you can see the rocks in my rock bed!

much car washing going on with the city requesting water conservation during and after the flood, until just recently),  and I was able to sit down and eat supper with a genuine feeling of having accomplished something for the first time in a long, long time.

Tomorrow, I work on the inside of the house!

 

 

 

 

Blessed are mundane things


Today started out being not such a bad day. My house wasn’t considered to be in the flood zone, and we had made some progress on going through stuff in the basement that needed to be gotten rid of or brought upstairs. There was a sense of it needing to be done, but not that we had to kill ourselves to finish up.

My Sister calls this "Frog in a Blender"

Then we went out to run some errands. Older Son came with me and on the way home, I thought it would be nice to stop at Starbucks and get us some coffee. Or, in my case, a nice Green Tea Frappuccino.  We sat outside the drive through speaker for a long time, and then a girl came out and apologized, letting us know that they were closing due to the evacuation zones being expanded.

What?!

Yep…we came right home and turned on the tv. The big news is that someone just discovered that double the water was coming our way, and those close to the original evacuation zones were to evacuate as well. Well, that threw things into a tizzy. Later on we would find out that we weren’t in an expanded evacuation zone, but that someone had jumped the gun on that announcement. We are still getting double the water, though. It’s going to be what I come to call a Prairie Tsunami.

So, Older Son and I began to get things up from the basement, double time. Younger Son was at Driver’s Ed all afternoon, but got home early. We hauled stuff up and stashed it in bedrooms, we hauled crap out to the curb for garbage pickup, and we took some stuff to a friend who had use for them. It got to be about 9:30, and I walked across the road to see what’s going on closer to the river. I could see straight down one road to a main drag that runs over a bridge across the river. It was still dry, even though the West end of town is flooding. I’m hoping to get up tomorrow and still see a dry road. We’ll see what the new day brings. Until then, time to hit the rack.

Older Son’s bed is smack in the middle of the living room, so he’ll be comfortable enough until this whole thing is over and we can get him back into his bedroom in the basement. He suggested that we watch a movie, Battle: L.A. It’s an alien attack movie, just the kind of sci-fi thing we all like to watch. I sat here earlier flossing my teeth and catching up on the news on Facebook, and realized how nice it was to just do something as mundane as take care of my teeth. Watching a movie together is a nice mundane way to try to normalize after a long day of tearing up your house, and watching your community go under water via the television.  For now, we are just a family hanging out together, discussing the best way for the protagonists to kill the attacking aliens. Run of the mill stuff around these parts.

Good night all…

 

Nice weather and a good long walk…


Today was the first day of the year that I could get out and go for a good long walk. It’s got to be close to 60 degrees today, which is just right. During this long Winter, I’ve missed walking so much, and I think it’s because that’s what kept me sane from April until the snow fell last year. Not only did I lose a lot of weight (which I gained again over the Winter months), but walking constantly, multiple times a day helped me physically rid myself of tension, depression and anxiety so that I could function. It didn’t take it all away, but helped a lot.

Watch out...here I come!

So, Spring is here again and I’m itching to get outside. My ex husband had time scheduled with the boys today, so I decided just to go for a walk and be away from the house when it came time for him to pick them up. Being 15 and 17, they don’t need me around at all times, so I took the opportunity to salve my sanity. Yesterday when he picked them up I had to see him, and speak to him, and it was excruciating. I’ll never admit that to him or the kids, but there’s still a knife hanging out of my back, and every time I have to see or interact with him, it gives a good sharp twist. That’s what I have to work on this year…knife extraction. If I am to be completely honest with myself, the only reason it’s still there is I give it permission to be there. Part of the reason for that is that I’m hanging on to my anger… and I like it. I don’t want to not be angry about the kids and I being cheated on and dumped so carelessly, and, quite frankly, I just can’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t be angry about it. However, it takes a lot of energy to keep that up, and I suppose that one day I will just be too tired to keep it up any more. It would help a lot if my ex and his hussy would just kindly drop off the edge of the Earth, never to be heard from again…is that really too much to ask?

But, I digress…back to walking.

Not only does walking help drain off the negative energy I have all pent-up, but it gives me real time to think. While I listen to podcasts on my Ipod the whole time I’m out, sometimes I tune it out in favor of working stuff out in my head. Sometimes I pay sharp attention to whatever podcast is coming though my headphones, just for the pure distraction. The motion of walking and the mental distraction gives me time to reset, especially when I’m out walking for an hour to an hour-and-a-half.  I anticipate that once I get rolling, all this walking will help me take that weight off again, too, and hopefully I can keep it off.

Now that we have walking weather again, I’m hoping to get the boys out of the house to go walking with me more often…one at a time. Late last summer I was able to get some time alone with each kid. It was nice to just be able to talk about stuff alone, which was helpful given the eventful Spring and Summer we had last year.

So, now that I’ve had my walk for the day, I find I want to go for another one! I’ll have to start going early in the morning again every day now…and the evenings too.

An anniversary and an epiphany


Yesterday we went out to run some errands really quick. On the way to our first stop, Older Son said something that really annoyed the crap out of me, and I couldn’t quite let it go. It wasn’t that he said anything particularly incendiary, but it was the way he spoke to me that really lit my hair on fire.  After that I had a really hard time being civil, and I can’t even remember the content of the comment. I just remember the sound of it and how it made me feel.

By the time we made it to Walmart I was in such a snit I could barely see straight. The boys both went to Game Stop, and I went into Walmart and did my shopping. By the time they came back I was still angry and upset and couldn’t figure out why. I finally figured it out when Older Son turned to me and chastised me for purchasing a particular piece of fruit…in a tone his father used to use on me all the time. Then it hit me…I wasn’t angry at Older Son, I was angry with my ex.

I’m approaching the anniversary of when my world exploded and my marriage died. I don’t feel that I should have to worry about approaching this kind of anniversary, but for some reason my body isn’t listening to any good advice. In the last few months I’ve been depressed and feeling the need to hide. I’ve had no energy to do anything, and would like nothing better than to go to my room, close the door, and lose myself in a good book. But I spent the better part of ten years doing just that. The difference between now and then is that I tried to medicate myself back to happiness. I think I must have been perscribed almost every antidepressant/anti-anxiety med at one time or another. They all come with their own little quirks, and they all come with their own side effects. The side effects generally cancel out any benefit you might get from taking a given medication.

The last thing my doctor put me on was Lamictal, which is an anticonvulsant, after having diagnosed me with Bi-polar II. This particular malady causes a person to stay in a depressed low and have almost no manic periods. She must know, right? So, I took it  and hoped for the best. After being on that for a year, the side effects of the other medication went away and I had no problems. I continued to improve and things got so good at work, I ended up getting promoted to a job checking other people’s work. After a while, I quit taking it, feeling like I didn’t need it any more. Turns out I was right. The Lamictal didn’t do anything for me, really, but I was able to get all that other crap worked out of my system and get to know myself again. Not only did work improve, but things improved at home too…or so I thought. Just about this time last year, when I was riding high on my success, my husband was planning a trip to visit family, and plotting to cheat on me with an old girlfriend from high school….the bastard. More about that in a later rant. I’ll be doing a lot of that in the coming weeks.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I can at least identify why I’ve been so out of sorts and put an end to it. Life starts today, as it does every day…all I can do is take it one step at a time.

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